Okay–make fun of me because I marked myself with my Sharpie before surgery, but *this* is what happens when you aren’t careful! Besides, the nurse told me to.
It one one of the several times I was having an operation to have a cholesteatoma removed from my left eardrum. A nurse came in. I was on the table in my hospital gown. Holding her clipboard, she confirmed which ear I was having the surgery on, made a few notes, and then gave me a black Sharpie marker and said ‘Put an X on the ear that the surgery is going to be performed on.’
Hmmm. She left the room.
So, I don’t know about you? But in my mind, X means ‘no’… right? So without any further guidance, I made the executive decision to write ‘YES’ under my left ear and then a ‘NO’ under my right ear.
Time went by… I’m still alone. So, after thinking a little more, I put a ‘NO’ on my left hand and on my right hand. Still alone, still waiting, I added some other ‘No’s to other obvious limbs (just in case).
…time goes on… still waiting…
Finally, the doctor, his assistant and two nurses come in. And they are all staring at me. I was waiting so long I was bored and I forgot for a minute what I did.
Dr. T.: ‘What did you do?’
Me: ‘Well, she told me to put an X on the ear to be operated on, but ‘X’ means no to me so I put “YES”
Dr. T.: ‘And… ?’
Me: ‘Well, I put “NO” where you shouldn’t operate’ (and showed him my feet…). Leading me to tell him (it just popped into my head) …and by the way, I wrote on my nipples, “If you are reading this, my lawyer will be contacting you.”
I think the nurse wet her pants because she left the room rather quickly, and I don’t recall her coming back. His assistant cracked up but Dr. T. didn’t crack a smile. Whatever. Anyway, I read the article about the poor woman yesterday in the Philly and felt COMPLETELY vindicated.
Oh, and by the way, at my post-op visit, I first met with the young intern who was with Dr. T. during the surgery (and hopefully not DOING the surgery) and he was asking me some stupid questions [clearly he hadn’t read my chart].
So I just stared at him [deadpan look], he quickly read through my chart (before asking any more questions) and then looked up laughing and said ‘Oh, NOW I remember you…’
To which I replied ‘Oh really? Something you READ perhaps?’